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§ 17.6.3 - Timeline Area Selection Dialog - Tutorial

This tutorial will introduce you to the area selection dialog, and some of its controls. This tutorial will not cover every possible scenario, but it will give you a good working background with these dialogs. This tutorial will rely heavily on information presented in the previous sections. If you have not already done so, complete those tutorials now.

  1. If you have not already done so, start F/x by clicking on its icon, use the Start Menu Run command with the FX.EXE file selected. If F/x is already running, please close all existing images and TimeLines. Once the program is running, you may wish to open the F/x documentation to this section, and resize both the program and help file to fit on the same screen. This way you can perform the operations and view the tutorial at the same time. In some cases you may need to use Alt+Tab to flip between F/x and the F/x documentation.
  2. We will be setting up two separate animations that will use tweening area selections, and the color fill operation. Please open the TimeLine dialog, and delete any existing TimeLine objects. You can delete an object by pressing the Delete key with the TimeLine object selected, or by pressing Erase TimeLine. Once the TimeLine is completely empty, you will be ready to begin. The first sequence will use the Area Selection Object dialog to make area selections, and to tween from one area selection to another. The second area selection tutorial will introduce the Area Selection Detail dialog, and transparency controls. You will want to load the atiger.jpg image into F/x at this time. You will also want to set the Sequence Controls' Total Frames option to ten. This will make the TimeLine and the Filmstrip a total of ten frames long.
  3. Drag and drop a color fill icon into frame one of the TimeLine. Now, drag an I-Shape area selection into frame one, and another I-Shape area selection icon into frame ten. F/x will automatically specify an interpolation between those two area selections. We will need to specify the I-Shape that we want to use before specifying the area. Right-click on the the I-Shape icon in the Toolbox (or select Load I-Shape from the Area menu), and select the Africa.ish I-Shape file from the C:\Data directory. We must now specify the first area selection. This is done by double clicking on the area selection icon in frame one of the TimeLine. This will open the area selection object dialog. This dialog can be used to alter the area selection method, interpolation, and to create the area selection for this key frame. Select Make the area selection now. This will bring the atiger.jpg image to the front. Use the left and right mouse buttons to create an area selection in the top left hand corner of the image. If you are unclear on how the I-Shape area selection tool works, please review the I-Shape section of the documentation. The area selection should take up approximately 25% of the image. After you have sized and positioned the area selection release the mouse buttons. This will automatically place the area selection into the key frame.
  4. Change the I-Shape from Africa.ish to Australi.ish by following the procedure described above. After you have made this change, Ctrl+Click on the area selection icon in frame ten. This will automatically bring the atiger.jpg image to the front, and will then wait for you to make the area selection. This is a shortcut method of specifying the area selection for a key frame. Place this area selection in the bottom right hand corner of the image. After you have sized and positioned the area selection, release the left mouse button. Once again F/x will automatically place the area selection into the key frame.
  5. Make sure that the Filmstrip is visible, and then press Generate. The resulting animation will show a filled shape of Africa moving from the top right corner to the bottom left corner. Over the sequence of frames the shape of Africa will change into the shape of Australia. If you have questions about this process, please contact technical support.
  6. The second portion of this tutorial will introduce you to some of the controls in the Area Selection Detail dialog. These controls give you a greater range of control over the area selections, and their modifiers. We will use the TimeLine that was just generated for this example. Double click on the first I-Shape area selection in frame one of the TimeLine. Now, select the Show Details button. This will bring the Area Selection Detail dialog to the front. Let's alter the area selection method for this frame. This can be done by selecting the Method drop down box. This will give you a list of all of the available area selection modes in the program. Let's change this area selection from an I-Shape to an Ellipse. After you have selected Ellipse from the list, select Ok button to exit the dialog. The elliptical area selection will use the maximum width settings from the I-Shape as the size for the Ellipse.
  7. Now, we will alter the transparency level of the second area selection frame so that the second area selection will fade out. This can be done by double clicking on the I-Shape icon in frame ten of the TimeLine. This will open the Area Selection Object dialog. Now, select the Show Details button to access the Area Selection Detail dialog. The top right corner of the dialog contains a set of transparency controls. For this example, you will want to reset the Level amount to zero. This will result in the shape changing from an Ellipse into the outline of Australia, as well as the color fill fading out by the last frame. Select Ok to confirm this change and exit the dialog. Now, select Generate. The resulting animation should show the Ellipse moving from the top left of the image into the bottom right of the image. The Ellipse should change into the shape of Australia, and by frame ten the outline of Australia should be transparent.

As you can see F/x's area selection interpolation is very powerful. These are two simple examples of effects that can be created by altering the area selection over the frame sequence. You should take the time to review and explore the other area selection dialog tools and functions.

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